The production of Staphylococcus aureus virulence factors is under the control of complex regulatory circuits. Most studies aimed at defining these regulatory networks have focused on derivatives of the strain NCTC 8325, most notably RN6390. However, all NCTC 8325 derivatives, including RN6390, possess an 11 bp deletion in rsbU. This deletion renders NCTC 8325 derivatives naturally sigma-factor-13 deficient. Recent studies have shown that RN6390 is also deficient, in comparison to clinical isolates, with respect to biofilm formation, a process which is important for both pathogenesis and antimicrobial resistance. Based on these considerations, the authors carried out genome-scale transcriptional profiling, comparing RN6390 with the virulent rsbU-positive clinical isolate UAMS-1. The results revealed significant genome-wide differences in expression patterns between RN6390 and UAMS-1, and suggested that the overall transcriptional profile of UAMS-1 is geared toward expression of factors that promote colonization and biofilm formation. In contrast, the transcriptional profile of RN6390 was heavily influenced by RNAIII expression, resulting in a phenotype characterized by increased production of exoproteins, and decreased capacity to form a biofilm. The greater influence of agr in RN6390 relative to UAMS-1 was also evident when the transcriptional profile of UAMS-1 was compared with that of its isogenic sarA and agr mutants. Specifically, the results indicate that, in contrast to NCTC 8325 derivatives, agr plays a limited role in overall regulation of gene expression in UAMS-1, when compared with sarA. Furthermore, by defining the sarA regulon in a biofilm-positive clinical isolate, and comparing the results with transcriptional profiling experiments defining biofilm-associated gene expression patterns in the same strain, the authors identified a sarA-regulated operon (alsSD) that is also induced in biofilms, and demonstrated that mutation of alsSD results in reduced capacity to form a biofilm.
ASJC Scopus subject areas